Uxbridge 2 Ware 1
By Stephen King
Missed chances leave Ware pointless.
After last Saturday's FA Cup defeat to Lowestoft, manager Paul Halsey bemoaned the fact that Ware had not taken their chances. It was a similar story at Honeycroft with Blues creating enough chances to have put the game to bed by half time.
Instead they went in level thanks to a very late and well worked goal scored by Jordon Watson from close range but created further back. Dominique Njoya had exchanged passess with Albert Adu in a cleverly worked one-two before sending over a perfect cross for Watson to slam home.
Ware might have had three others before that with Dave Cowley's cross on 12 minutes after some head tennis had opened up the home defence resulting in Adu's header being finger tipped over the bar by Paul McCarthy. Eight minutes later Leigh Rose was through on goal but his shot thumped against McCarthy's chest and was scrambled away for a corner.
Cowley was at it again on 27 minutes turning his defender one way and then the other before delivering another accurate cross that at the last possible moment was deflected off the head of the incoming Billy Baird.
There was much encouragement from the Ware bench during the first half to close down the opposition as quickly and as often as possible and this positive approach seemed to be giving the visitors a controlling edge. Ware were certainly looking confident but it wasn't all one-way traffic.
On 24 minutes the ball was rescued on the by-line in a determined Uxbridge attack and crossed into the Ware six-yard area where it was cleared under pressure for a corner. And just ten minutes later Uxbridge showed how to take your chances when Matt Sinclair was allowed too much time and space before drilling a low shot from the edge of the area, angled for accuracy at the expense of pace, that saw Harry Ricketts at full stretch but unable to keep the ball out.
The second half started with the hope that the late equaliser was the foundation of a winning performance. The hope seemed to be justified as Ware forced three corners in quick succession with Uxbridge seemingly unable to clear the danger particularly when Bradley Foster's header hit the bar and bounced down dangerously in front of goal. But there was no Ware boot or body able to force it over the line.
And in a twist of fate Uxbridge broke upfield and a cross from the right was parried by Ricketts into the path of Joe Wright who scored with ease. It was enough to change the feel of the game with exhortations to close the opposition down forgotten as Ware lost that sense of control of proceedings.
As a result both teams had their chances in a more even second half with Hicham Abdellah hitting a Ware post and Cowley continuing to float crosses into dangerous places though both Adu and Josh Oyibo were unable to convert them. Blues might have hoped for a bit more luck and rub of the green but having regained the lead Uxbridge looked determined and good enough to hang on to it.
Ware will welcome the return of the wandering Oyibo and also draw some consolation that the difference between fifth from top and fifth from bottom is so close. But the difference in this game was still enough to be significant.
Ware: Harry Ricketts, Billy Baird (Josh Oyibo 70mins), Dominique Njoya, Jason Brown (Jack Daveney 73mins), Louis Rose, Bradley Fraser, Gareth Madden, Leigh Rose, Jordon Watson (Callum Taylor 73mins), Albert Adu, Dave Cowley. Unused subs: Harley Haag, Charlie Yexley